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Tips to keep in mind when reporting on the mental health of older adults

The National Council on Aging defines mental disorders as “health conditions that are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood or behavior (or some combination thereof), associated with distress and/or impaired functioning.”

As the U.S. population ages, the need for mental and behavioral health services is increasing. Addressing and treating mental and behavioral health problems is especially important for older adults living in underserved communities, and for those living in poverty, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).

Recent studies indicate that about one-fifth of adults age 65 and older (20.4 percent) met the APA criteria for a mental disorder (including dementia) over the prior 12 months. While many older adults suffer from depression, anxiety and mood disorders also are common. Good mental health is important for overall wellbeing. Here are some tips and sources for writing about mental health as people age.

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